15 Feb 2022

Rwanda, a country in the Eastern region of Africa has been making global headlines for good reasons both economically and sports-wise. In recent times, Rwanda Table Tennis Association (RTTA) hosted major tournaments in the region, and an effort to unearth talents in the country prompted RTTA to collaborate with the Rwanda Olympic Committee (ROC) to organize a 10-day ITTF Level 1 technical course for coaches, supported by Olympic Solidarity and led by expert Cédric Rouleau (FRA). The course was the first ever of its kind in the country.

By Olalekan Okusan, Member Relations Media Officer and Cédric Rouleau, ITTF course conductor

29 coaches including eight women and three coaches representing Para table tennis were tutored on the basics of table tennis by ITTF expert Cédric Rouleau.

The coaching course took place from 17-26 January and was aimed at improving the level of coaching and increasing the number of qualified coaches in Rwanda.

On January 18, the Secretary General of the Rwanda National Olympic and Sports Committee Joseph Kajangwe together with the President of Rwanda Table Tennis Federation John Bosco Birungi officiated the opening ceremony of the coaching course, while the closing ceremony was attended by the President of Rwanda National Olympic and Sports Committee Theo Uwayo and the representative of the Ministry of Sports, Gervais Munyanziza.

At the opening ceremony of the workshop, John Bosco Birungi said: “Our coaches were not at the required level and needed to be trained in order to make the game more professional. I also take this opportunity to thank the RNOSC and the Ministry of Sports for their partnership to make this happen.”

Opening ceremony

In his opening remarks, Joseph Kajangwe stated: “Our responsibilities include assisting our members [the National Sports Federations] in technical or management training. The 10-day course is for 29 coaches, so we hope that at least each district will have a trained table tennis coach”.

After a 10-day workshop at Centre Christus in Remera, 29 participants were awarded completion certificates. The course consisted of theoretical and practical knowledge, and the participants also had an opportunity to internally compete to deeply understand what they have learned through actions.

Besides the increase in table tennis knowledge, with support of the Mauritius Table Tennis Federation, Ping Sans Frontières and Go Sport Company, Cédric Rouleau donated table tennis balls, nets, paddles and books to the Rwanda Table Tennis Federation.

After the course, the coaches were urged to do more in a bid to nurture future generations of table tennis players for Rwanda.

At the closing ceremony, Théogène Uwayo, the President of ROC, tasked the coaches to make good use of the skills they have acquired and strive to promote more players in table tennis.

“We appreciated the training, which was provided by a high-level teacher. It will go a long way producing more table tennis players in the country” he said.

Instructor Rouleau praised the mixed representation of coaches in the training clinic.

“There were former and active players of the national team, and a good number of female coaches. There was a representative of the sports association in schools, and it is good to put the table tennis game in the schools. Participants also included Para table tennis,” he applauded the inclusive nature of the course.

Gervais Munyanziza, a representative of the Rwanda Ministry of Sports, said it was exciting to have such training for the coaches across the country, as it would promote the sport.

He promised that the ministry would continue to work with various stakeholders like ROC and RTTA to further support the coaches.

Révérien Nsabimana, a coach from Ruhango District, said they are going to start implementing what they have been taught in their home areas.

“As coaches, we are all determined to start coaching in different parts of the country where we come from. The federation promised to assist us,” he said.

The event was concluded on January 27 with a certificate award ceremony, the exchanging of gifts and a group photo.

Rwanda National Olympic and Sports Committee continues to empower and strengthen capacity-skills for both elite sports and Sports For All as well as to uplift sports disciplines which are lagging behind by training the sports administrators, coaches and supporting talented athletes.

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